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Your Guide to the New and Improved Nutrition Facts Label

 

Your Guide to the New and Improved Nutrition Facts Label
Source: United States Food & Drug Administration

Serving size

The bolder serving size tells what a single portion of food may be for most people. Be aware that the serving sizes listed may not be the same as the serving size on your kidney diet plan. Talk with your kidney dietitian about using serving sizes to meet your needs. See Putting it All Together below for portion sizes for CKD.

Calories

The larger and bolder font for calories makes it easier to find. Calories tell you how much energy is found in a serving of food. If you are trying to lose weight, you may be looking for foods with fewer calories per serving. If you need to gain weight, look for more calories per serving. Ask your kidney dietitian what is best for you.

Total Fat

Many people with kidney disease are on a low-fat diet. For lower fat, look for foods with 3 grams of fat or less per 100 calories. If you need to gain weight, higher fat foods may be okay Speak with your kidney dietitian about your needs. 

Sodium

Many people with kidney disease must limit their sodium intake. Look for foods with no more than 240 mg sodium per serving. In general, the mg of sodium should be less than the calories per serving.

If you are on a potassium-restricted diet, keep an eye out for potassium chloride as it is a common ingredient in low sodium products. Potassium additives are absorbed more readily than naturally occurring potassium.

If you are on a potassium-restricted diet, keep an eye out for potassium chloride as it is a common ingredient in low sodium products.

Total Carbohydrate

This information is especially important if you have diabetes because the total carbohydrate grams per serving will help you balance your meals. Each meal should have 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrate. 

Dietary Fiber – A good source of fiber will have at least 3-5 grams of fiber per serving. 

Total Sugars – Sugars are included in total carbohydrate. Added sugars include sugars that are added during food processing such as table sugar, syrups and honey, and sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices. “Sugar free” foods may not be carb free.

Protein

Protein is very important for keeping you healthy. Every 7 grams listed equals one ounce of protein or one meat serving on your diet plan. For example:

Label protein Meat serving
7 grams

1 oz

14 grams 2 oz
21 grans 3 oz

 

Ask your dietitian how much protein you need daily.

Potassium

People with kidney disease may have to limit potassium intake. For lower potassium, look for foods with no more than 200 mg potassium per serving. Ask your kidney dietitian how much potassium you need daily.

Phosphorus

Phosphorus is not required on the Nutrition Facts Label. Even if phosphorus is not listed there still may be phosphorus in the food. To look for hidden phosphorus in foods - check the ingredient list for words with PHOS; for example: phosphoric acid, tricalcium phosphate, etc. These are phosphate additives and are more readily absorbed than naturally occurring phosphorus. Ask your kidney dietitian about your phosphorus needs. Some foods with higher levels may be on your plan if they are good sources of protein. 

To look for hidden phosphorus in foods - check the ingredient list for words with PHOS; for example: phosphoric acid, tricalcium phosphate, etc. These are phosphate additives and are more readily absorbed than naturally occurring phosphorus.

Ingredients

Don’t forget to check the ingredients list too! This box is often next to or underneath the nutrition facts box, but not always. All ingredients are listed in order by weight, with the item of the most weight listed first. If an ingredient is listed at the end, a very small amount was used in the product. 
 
Avoid foods:
  • With phosphate additives – this includes words with PHOS on the ingredient list
  • If salt is listed in the first few ingredients

Pulling it all together

Know the portion sizes for your diet plan:

Food group Kidney disease diet
Milk 4 oz or ½ cup
Milk substitute 4 oz or ½ cup
Pasta, rice, cereal ½ cup
Bread, whole grain 1 slice
Hotdog or hamburger bun ½ bun
Cooked legumes, beans ½ cup
Nuts ¼ cup or 1 oz
Seeds 2 tablespoons
Meats, protein foods 1 oz
Cooked vegetables ½ cup
Raw, fresh vegetables 1 cup
Canned fruit ½ cup
Fresh fruit 1 small or ½ large
Juices 4 oz or ½ cup
Oils, margarine 1 teaspoon

 

Know your diet needs for calories, fats, cholesterol, carbohydrates, protein, potassium, and phosphorus. Ask your kidney dietitian to help you. No single food will have all the nutrients at the levels you need, but a balanced diet from various foods will help you meet your needs.

Acknowledgment: Reviewed by the Council on Renal Nutrition

This content is provided for informational use only and is not intended as medical advice or as a substitute for the medical advice of a healthcare professional.



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